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Belize celebrates World Mental Health Day

Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2017. 2:38 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Mental Health Association (MHA) of Belize held a joint event today in celebration of World Mental Health Day.

Both organizations gathered with students from various high schools and other professionals at the Welcome Resource Center at the corner of Vernon and Tibruce streets in Belize city to exchange encouraging words and hold a ceremonial release of balloons into the air, in support of persons battling mental health issues.

Elenor Bennett, nurse administrator for the Mental Health Unit of the MOH,  explained that the global theme for the celebration is “Mental Health in the workplace,” which prompted the ministry to educate employers about the importance of their employees’ mental well-being. She noted that mental health issues play a key role in work productivity including workers calling in sick, and not producing to their full capability.

“This year’s observance is trying to bring employers on board to show them that paying attention to employees’ mental health is something they have to do if they want to have a productive workforce,” Bennet said.

Kathy Esquivel, secretary of the MHA, explained that the releasing of balloons is a tradition spanning back some 20 years.

“When the balloons lift up into the air it shows how we need to keep our spirits high and let go of some the baggage that keeps us down,” Esquivel said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression and more than 260 million are living with anxiety disorders. A recent WHO-led study estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US $1 trillion each year in lost productivity.

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